June 20, 2018
David Livingstone Smith, Ph.D., professor of philosophy and author of the award-winning book Less Than Human: Why We Demean, Enslave, and Exterminate Others, has been interviewed and quoted by the national media several times in response to comments made by President Donald Trump.
Smith was recently interviewed by Prentiss Pemberton, host of the show "Line One" on Alaska Public Media.
Comments by Smith were also recently included in an article that appeared in the Portland Press Herald titled "Ecology reminds us that we're all connected."
In a recent report that aired on National Public Radio Smith spoke about dehumanization in American history.
"Dehumanization was a very, very, very, important feature of the bloody history of this nation. You know, all nations are born in violence, but we Americans have a very difficult time coming to terms with the truth," Smith told NPR reporter Shereen Marisol Meraji.
Earlier this month Smith made a guest appearance via Skype on Wisconsin Public Radio's "The Morning Show." The topic of the program was "Dehumanization and Democracy." Smith spoke about why people dehumanize others to feel better and how that manifests in U.S. politics.
He also recently spoke with TIME Magazine and New York radio station WNYC about President Trump referring to some immigrants as “animals.”
In the interviews Smith explained that dehumanizing language has been used as far back as ancient Mesopotamia, but that doesn’t justify Trump’s comments.
He also weighed in on dehumanizing comments made by people who were offended by Trump, saying that’s falling prey to the same bad instinct.
“I wanted people to understand that dehumanizing talk, talking about human beings as sub-human creatures, is both prevalent and dangerous,” he said.
Smith says dehumanizing words can often lead to violence.
“It both relaxes inhibitions against harming others and also motivates harm,” he said.
Smith's comments were picked up by the Washington Post in an article titled "We can all hear Trump's dog whistles to racists."
Statements Smith gave to NPR were also quoted in a recent article about Trump comments in the progressive news magazine Alternet.
Smith's new book, titled Making Monsters: The Uncanny Power of Dehumanization, is being prepared for publication by Harvard University Press.
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